Quartet creates ice magic

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2007, 12:00am

Four ice maidens from Iceland who call themselves Amiina create a delicate and wintery dreamscape with their music.

The group used to play as compatriot post-rock band Sigur Ros's supporting act and also acted as their string section.

Kurr is the group's first album since Sigur Ros stopped touring.

Amiina is made up of Maria and Hildur on violins, Edda on viola, and Solrun on cello.

The quartet also uses a number of other instruments, including compact synthesizer, digital piano, electric guitars, celtic harps, glockenspiel and even a musical saw.

The group's music is almost classifiable as New Age. But there is more to the music than that: the haunting, celestial sounds paint dreamlike images.

First track Sogg seems to be inspired by the musicians' Icelandic heritage. The sharp, crystal-like tones make the listener imagine icicles forming and lakes freezing.

This is followed by the mellow Rugla which, despite its high-pitched, almost eerie violin melodies, encourages warm, fuzzy feelings.

The prominent snare drum and use of metallophones on Lori conjure up images of Emperor penguins trekking across the arctic snows.

If you like discovering unusual music, this is an interesting album. The pieces are expressive, often surprising and musically innovative.